Herman: 'We'd know more if some of these really fat guys lost some weight'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday March 06, 2017

Tom Herman says the buy-in from his first Texas team is better than when he took over at Houston, but he wasn’t afraid to call out the defensive line as spring practice opened.

Herman spoke for an hour on Monday on just about everything. Asked about the defensive line, Herman said they need to get in better shape — and that’s putting it nicely.

“The effort as a group has not been to our requirements here in this program,” he said. “The body types, I think we’d know a lot more if some of these really fat guys lost some weight. What does their body really look like? Right now, I don’t know, because we have some guys that are 360, 350 pounds. I don’t know how you move at that weight.”

The 2016 Texas roster included four defensive linemen over 315 pounds, three of whom were freshmen. Two were around 330 pounds, none near 350.

There’s certainly an intention of motivation in a comment like that. Beside, as Herman noted, you have to work with what you’ve got.

“We’re certainly not going to throw our hands up and say ‘woe is me,’ The last time I checked, you’ve got to play with a defensive line,” he said. “The cool thing about tight end is you can figure out formations where you don’t need one. In the game of football, you have to have a defensive line. We’ve got to teach them. I’ve told (DL coach Oscar) Giles and (defensive coordinator Todd) Orlando that, too.

They’re what we’ve got. There’s no waiver wire in college football. We can’t go sign a couple free agents. They are who we’ve got. We need to make players out of them.”

One reason Herman credits the (rest of the) Horns for the buy-in is because of the recent losing. He took over a winning program at Houston. In Austin, Herman has a team that doesn’t know what winning is like. The process of winning is "exhausting," as the coach put it, but they're willing to listen.

“In our first team meeting, I said, ‘Raise your hand if you played on a winning team at the University of Texas.’ I think three hands went up,’ Herman said. “That’s a little bit shocking, but at the same time, they also know we’d better try something. It’s probably even less immediate pushback than when we got to Houston.

“When took over Houston, they were 8-5 and had beaten Pitt, so there were some kids that looked sideways when we told them to do certain things. But here, our guys are embarrassed. They understand change is necessary in order to achieve some results.”

Texas’ spring game is scheduled for April 15.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.